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Man Held in Slaying of Swedish Foreign Minister

September 17, 2003|From Times Wire Services

STOCKHOLM — Police arrested a man Tuesday in the fatal stabbing of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh after authorities received a flood of tips following a nationwide alert and publication of the suspect's photo.

The arrested man was described as Swedish but wasn't further identified. He was detained near a pub in Solna, a suburb of Stockholm, police spokeswoman Stina Wessling said.

A waiter at the East End Company pub, Magnus Bruun, said the suspect was dressed in blue and had been among a crowd watching soccer on a big-screen television.

Stockholm Police Commissioner Leif Jennekvist, who is leading the investigation, called the arrest "completely undramatic."

Jennekvist said the suspect "looks quite like the [man in the] pictures," referring to images captured by security cameras at the department store where Lindh was fatally stabbed last week.

Sweden's TT news agency said the suspect was a 35-year-old man with 18 previous convictions for crimes such as fraud and theft, as well as violence and threats involving knives.

The suspect will undergo testing to see if his DNA matches genetic material recovered from a baseball cap found near the scene. Police also recovered DNA from the knife, but the amount was too small for immediate use and was still undergoing processing.

Jennekvist said tips from the public helped police identify and arrest the man. Two other men were taken in for questioning but were not considered suspects, the official said.

Authorities have said the attack did not appear to be politically motivated, although Lindh, who did not have bodyguards, was a prominent supporter of adopting the euro as Sweden's currency.

Swedish voters overwhelmingly rejected the euro in a referendum Sunday.

An invitation-only memorial for Lindh planned by her Social Democratic Party was scheduled for Friday at Stockholm City Hall, and leaders from Britain, Finland, Norway and Denmark said they would attend, along with U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

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